In every fly-fishing person’s life, there come certain periods when it’s worth it to call in sick or slip out of whatever weekend plans you’ve already made. This, my friends, is one such time. The PMDs are here. It’s on. It’s that simple. Somewhere the fishing gods have flipped the switch and blessed us with happy pods of rising fish. Upriver? Check. Downriver? Check. We’ve great wading flows at 5820 CFS this morning. Overcast skies here today. Skip the office weekend barbeque or whatever else it may be and hit the MO.
So as we’ve established, the dry fly bite is here. Look for risers in shallow riffles, on flats, and in pockets off of the banks. Wade fisherman: hunt side channels and flats, and be patient. The bugs have been seen around late morning, but the dry fly bite is usually a 1-6 PM kind of affair. Let your target fish come up and get into a rhythm. Don’t rush it; savor the whole experience. The PMDs are the No. 1 bug out here, so throw Comparaduns, Rusty Spinners, Flash Cripples, and D&D Cripples. You will see the occasional larger PMD, but be prepared to throw smaller flies from 16-20. Sizing down is always a good way to solve a tricky fish, but a drag free drift is the most important piece of the puzzle. Now is the time to hone in your reach cast.
The nymphing has been excellent. The omnipresent Tailwater Sowbug in 14 or 16 continues to get gobbled down, especially in the upper stretches of the river. The fish are in noticeably faster water now. Target riffle and runs with pace. Mix in some Baetis and caddis nymphs. I’m partial to Hogan’s Military May in size 16-18, but the Green Machine, Two-Bit Hooker, and Psycho May in the same sizes are catching a lot of fish. The purple Lightning Bug is a great change-up in 16-18. Feel free to prospect with the ol’ dry-dropper too. Larger dries (big parachutes & Chubbies) are getting the occasional eat in the dry dropper set-up, and a small nymph in any of the aforementioned mayfly patterns should be the ticket.